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Thread: Bartok's Quartets

  1. #61
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    Funny that - I've got a lot of those works too. For some reason it's Interrupted Intermezzo which I like best - the very first piece I heard by Bartok when I was 11.

    The profundity of his string quartet cycle really demands stereo imaging speakers and a warm amp to bring the instrumental dialogue into real conversation with the listener, particularly for an older mono recording like the one by the classic Végh.

    The only Alban Berg work I have is the Beethoven string quartet cycle. It is more consistently played than the Taneyev Quartet's LP set, however there are individual Beethoven quartets (Harp quartet) which really shine. Otherwise, the Loewenguth Quartet; Vlach Quartet classics on LP are gorgeous for Beethoven.

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    These quartets are the kind of pieces that at first hearing you're likely to get bored. It takes repeated listenings (for me, at least) to start seeing the relationships of his "germ themes" and all the fun creativity that Bartok put in there. But you do feel enriched after the experience.

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    Default bored?

    You are probably speaking about somebody else...

    Martin

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    Some thoughts for those unfamiliar with Bartok's music. I am in the process of getting familiar with several works myself.

    From my experience reading reviews about classical music, string quartet listeners seem to be the most passionate about their favorite works, and the most opinionated concerning their preferred recordings.

    You can drive yourself nuts trying to decide what recordings to buy. After reading umpteen reviews about the Bartok's, I decided on a set by the Alban Berg Quartet on EMI which nobody reviewed at Amazon. I love the EMI Gemini series anyway. If you have no Bartok in your collection, just buy some recordings and start listening.

    I can't discuss the quartets at this time because I haven't invested enough time listening yet. I do like the overall sound and character of the music after a couple of run throughs. I've been listening to more Bartok in the past year than any other composer. His music is unique and possesses a strong personal voice which I find very appealing. I also find the music free of bombast or any shallow or showy crowd pleasing devices. Every note sounds like it belongs there. Bartok embraces tradition and is also thoroughly modern, but never forbidding. In short, the best of both worlds!

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    Senior Member Sebastien Melmoth's Avatar
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    Bartók's String Quartets have never done anything for me; have the Emerson set, never listen to it. Twenty years ago had the Juiliard set on LP.

    Consider Schönberg's canon of five SQs infinitely more satisfying intellectually and aesthetically.

    Furthermore, enjoy Reger's set of five SQs more than any other 20th C composer after Schönberg.

    My 2 cents.

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    I didn't mean the quartets are boring. I meant there's so much in them, that you need to invest some serious time to be able to appreciate them. That's all.

    It's actually quite a compliment. I'm sure Bartok would have loved to hear this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastien Melmoth View Post
    Bartók's String Quartets have never done anything for me; have the Emerson set, never listen to it. Twenty years ago had the Juiliard set on LP.

    Consider Schönberg's canon of five SQs infinitely more satisfying intellectually and aesthetically.

    Furthermore, enjoy Reger's set of five SQs more than any other 20th C composer after Schönberg.

    My 2 cents.
    I really enjoy the first two Schoenberg quartets. I recently purchased the Insights CD set by the Asasello Quartet.
    http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/...bum_id=2188529
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    Quote Originally Posted by KJohnson View Post
    I didn't mean the quartets are boring. I meant there's so much in them, that you need to invest some serious time to be able to appreciate them. That's all.
    That's the key. Don't worry about "understanding" them, just give your brain and ears sufficient time to absorb the music. I'm still working on no.1 after seven years. But I don't listen to them much due to my large collection. I used to scratch my head trying to get into the piano concertos, but now I know them pretty well after hours of listening.
    Short-term thinkers are rewarded with reelection, while those who dare to take seriously our responsibility to future generations commonly find themselves out of office.

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  12. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastien Melmoth View Post
    Bartók's String Quartets have never done anything for me; have the Emerson set, never listen to it. Twenty years ago had the Juiliard set on LP.

    Consider Schönberg's canon of five SQs infinitely more satisfying intellectually and aesthetically.

    Furthermore, enjoy Reger's set of five SQs more than any other 20th C composer after Schönberg.

    My 2 cents.

    I thought there were four Schoenberg quartets. Or are you thinking of verklärte nacht?
    Last edited by Mandryka; Feb-06-2018 at 17:37.

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    Sr. Moderator TurnaboutVox's Avatar
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    I managed to hear #1 through #5 live last year at our regional music college (the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, UK). The recitals were by various groups, ranging from student quartets through to the Keller Quartet, but all were excellent in their own way. Even though I'd known the quartets since acquiring the Tokyo Quartet's DG accounts on LP as a student in 1982, this was something else again.

    It was deeply satisfying to immerse myself in the performances at recital.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    I thought there were four Schoenberg quartets. Or are you thinking of verklärte nacht?
    Schoenberg had an earlier quartet in D major.Reminds me a little of Dvorak.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brahms4 View Post
    Schoenberg had an earlier quartet in D major.Reminds me a little of Dvorak.
    I have a recording of the work played by the Artis Quartet, and like the music and the performance. In fact, I think that work is one of the best of the post Brahms genre.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quartetfore View Post
    I have a recording of the work played by the Artis Quartet, and like the music and the performance. In fact, I think that work is one of the best of the post Brahms genre.

    Brahms salted with a little Dvorak. Quite an improvement on the original IMO...

    Joking aside, I agree that it's a pretty decent work.

  19. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quartetfore View Post
    I have a recording of the work played by the Artis Quartet, and like the music and the performance. In fact, I think that work is one of the best of the post Brahms genre.
    I like the work very much myself.I like all of Schoenberg`s quartets.It finally dawned on me where I heard music that reminded me of the beginning of the designated Quartet no.1(Op 7),it is the music for the Universal horror movie The House of Frankenstein(1944)!I just researched and found out that the film score composer,Hans Salter, emigrated from Austria and had studied some under Alban Berg.Maybe it is just me,but I find the beginning of both works quite similar after listening on YouTube.
    Last edited by brahms4; Feb-06-2018 at 21:28.

  20. #75
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    This thread has made me get out and listen to the quartets for the first time. I bought them by the Emerson some time ago

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